While the Getting is Good

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

As the year of our lord 2021, skids out of control to a conclusion. Let us give thanks and make carbonated ablution beverages and toast to the locking of this year in the basement, with the certainty that this bitch ain’t never getting out. A pandemic racing towards its second birthday. 800,000 dead, but you know all that. I hate it when I call the bank and the automated message says, “get the latest information on Covid-19.” Why would I call my bank to do that? The US economy is substantially outperforming the world economy, as Republicans continue to piss and moan about it.

Inflation is the side effect of an overheating economy. Damn our bad luck! With interest rates at historical record lows, there will never be a better time to buy a $200,000 house for $300,000. For the buyer, it’s the pressure of knowing that there will never be a better time to buy. For the seller the knowledge, that there will never be a better time to sell that $200,000 house for $300,000. In Phoenix, and probably everywhere else, they advertise on the radio. “Wanna sell your house? There’s never been a better time!” Daddy said, “when the trap chases the prey, somethings up.”

Who remembers what the number 2008 means, regarding Real Property bubbles? That is the bulk of the US Inflation. Stay out of the housing market and the sharks can’t get you. A builder won’t build, if he doesn’t think he can make any money. Like any good businessman, they want to buy materials as cheaply as possible. Gee, guess what? Building materials are up in price, due to high demand. They are willing to pay that premium because the market is hot, and they don’t want to miss the boat.

Interest rates are set by Federal Reserve, building material prices by the free market and oil prices are set by OPEC. So, tell me again, exactly how this this all Joe Biden’s fault? After Biden’s Build Back Better program was defeated by the Republicans, the stock market dropped 1,000 points. Guess who did that fellas? The moneyed interests of this country were disappointed by the program’s defeat. That should tell you something. Big money was disappointed, in this day and time.

In the Real Estate business cycle, these are the hookers and cocaine days, long before the registered letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission arrives. Somebodies is buying all these houses, and the banks are lending much money to make it all possible. I was reading about the Chinese property bubble. Skyscrapers with 50% occupancy rates and half of those are absentee owners, who bought their units on speculation.

The state bank gives the banker a lending target. The banker must meet his quota or perhaps be replaced, by someone else who will. So, If a guy walks into the office with a crazy idea to build a sixty-story apartment building, requiring half of the banker’s annual lending target. The banker responds with, “That sounds like, a hell of a good idea!” Under the two systems one China policy, the state bank feeds free enterprise and free enterprise feeds itself.

It’s what we call in this country a builder’s economy, everything will be fine as long everyone keeps on building. Just so long as the music doesn’t stop. We’ve become addicted to low interest rates that were once thought to be only temporary measures. But damn, it’s been one thing after another, for the last two years. Sooner or later, the days of wine and roses must end. But who wants to pull that string or flip that switch? I’ve never seen a surfer riding the crest of a big wave, volunteer to get off.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. NFL football TV ratings are way up to record levels. While NASCAR ratings are way down. Sponsors are abandoning the sport all together or cutting back. NASCAR was once viewed as wholesome family entertainment. But nooses hanging in garages and “Let’s go Brandon” leaves sponsors to ponder if their products will even be remembered, when the partiers later sober up. Falling attendance is blamed on high ticket prices, but they aren’t watching at home either.

How do you account for something so peculiar? Something or someone, has distracted racing fans from their beloved sport. What has pulled them away I wonder? I spy with my little eye something orange. Anti-mask protests don’t leave a fella much time and donations to “Swindle America for Twump” leave a fella, a little short. Then there’s bowling and working with the militia group and stockpiling ammunition. Or maybe, cars going round and round on a track have somehow lost their appeal. I loved going to the local races, but never cared much for NASCAR. Too much Hollywood, too much like professional wrestlers in race cars.

My father said that when he was a boy, every building had a spittoon in the corner. In my own childhood, every room had an ashtray. But then, it became socially unacceptable and was considered a lower-class activity. Tell your boss you spent the weekend shooting dice and getting drunk. Then say, “just kidding, I went to a NASCAR race” and see if his expression changes any.

“Let’s go Brandon,” let’s watch our sport evaporate before our eyes, because of our own bad behavior. “Yee Ha! Gimme another beer! Hell yeah, I’m a deplorable! Fuck Joe Biden and Hillary too! Yee Ha! Where’s my confederate flag!” (banned by NASCAR) They couldn’t just ask you not bring it, they had to make a rule and outlaw it. “Yee Ha! Me and my five teeth, don’t listen to nobody!”

A little right-wing hooliganism, a few racist remarks or actions and the suits and ties in Metropolis, start getting a little nervous. Getting while the getting is good. Getting before something else happens. Spending those advertising dollars somewhere else. Maybe to sponsor a nice non-political soccer team or maybe buy a little more TV time. After all, twenty million dollars to sponsor a NASCAR team is just ten, sixty-second TV commercials, during the Super Bowl. All gone Brandon.

― Groucho Marx

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